Harvesting Native Seed

Following our graduation and final Master Conservationist class, we headed out to the Hitchcock Nature Center trail system in search of native seed. We grabbed some paper bags and followed Michelle Biodrowski’s lead on how to find seed that was ready for harvest. The native seed is used for prairie restorations and similar projects. At…

Master Conservationist Graduation

Last Saturday, our class graduated from the Master Conservationist program at Hitchcock Nature Center. If you missed my class recaps, find them here: Iowa Ecosystems: ForestsIowa Ecosystems: PrairieIowa Ecosystems: Wetlands The program was hosted by our local Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water Conservation, Pottawattamie County NRCS, ISU Extension and Outreach West Pottawattamie over the summer….

Iowa Ecosystems: Wetlands

This month, our Master Conservationist class was held at Heron Haven in Omaha, NE to discuss the wetlands ecosystem. Heron Haven is a spring-fed wetland sanctuary. The sanctuary features one of the last oxbow wetlands of the Big Papillion Creek and it is within Omaha’s city limits. You may remember my recap of a Master Gardener…

Healthy Soil, Healthy Planet

I attended a lecture titled Healthy Soils, Healthy Planet today at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. It was the third installment of their 2019 speaker series. Today, Jean Eells discussed the importance of soil health and its impact on every day life. From cover crops and no-till to how adopting those practices widely…

Interview with Benjamin Vogt

I first heard Benjamin Vogt speak at a Council Bluffs Noon Rotary lunch last year. A friend had invited me because she thought I would be interested in the topic. Vogt’s passion for what he does quickly became apparent. He urged the audience to re-think their grass lawns and instead plant low-maintenance native plants. I…

First Time Raising Monarch Butterflies

Monarch butterflies are the most wildly known butterfly in North America, perhaps in the world. Otherwise only living for a few weeks, the last generation of the year being a “super” Monarch generation, journies to the mountain forests of Mexico for the winter. Each spring they begin their migration back to the United States and…

Iowa Ecosystems: Prairie

The second of three Master Conservationist Program classes featuring Iowa’s Ecosystems highlighted the prairie. If you missed the first recap on forests, check it out here. There are a total of six classes throughout the summer, one Saturday per month. The class is a group effort by Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water…

A Natural Shift

My gardening style has changed over the years, sometimes due to environmental factors, like living in an apartment, other times inspired by a certain type of plant, or even a new hobby. However, I’ve noticed a major shift in the last few months that might have irrevocably changed the direction of my garden for the…

How To: Create a Butterfly Habitat in Your Yard

Butterflies add so much to your yard and landscape while bringing it to life. Here are some tips for creating a more butterfly-friendly area in your yard. Host PlantsMost butterflies and moths are dependent on one or more types of host plants, a plant on which they lay their eggs and caterpillars feed on. There…

Iowa Ecosystems: Forests

I signed up for a Master Conservationist Program through our local Golden Hills RC&D, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Pottawattamie County Soil & Water Conservation, Pottawattamie County NRCS, ISU Extension and Outreach West Pottawattamie over the summer. The program is one Saturday per month and is hosted at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. Unfortunately, I…

Interview with Michelle Biodrowski

Michelle Biodrowski had a booth at the Seed Exchange and Gardener Social event in Council Bluffs this spring and gave a presentation on Native Plants for a Backyard Habitat at the West Pott. Master Gardeners Spring Garden Conference. Since we keep running into each other now and her presentation was so great, I asked Michelle…

2019 Spring Garden Conference

The West Pott. Master Gardeners hosted their 2019 Spring Garden Conference today at Holiday Inn & Suites at Ameristar Casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The conference sold out in just a few weeks at 160 attendees due to an impressive lineup of speakers. They included Kim Todd with Backyard Farmer, Scott Evans, Jan Riggenbach, Michelle Biodrowski,…

Seed Exchange & Gardener Social

Several groups came together to host the March into Spring – Seed Exchange and Gardener Social today at Sherbondy’s Garden Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa today, March 24, 2019 from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. “Seed swaps having been going on for thousands of years. Folks coming together at markets, town squares, in huts and…

Interview with Jan Riggenbach

I’ve had the honor of attending three of Jan Riggenbach’s lectures in the last few years. A regular contributor for the Omaha World Herald, author of Your Midwest Garden and all out garden-guru, she continues to impress with her breath of knowledge. Last year, I heard her speak at the West Pottawattamie Master Gardener’s Spring…

Iowa State University Extension

This November, I was elected to the Iowa State University Extension Council for West Pottawattamie County. As an Iowa State University graduate, I am very honored to hold this position and proud to support the Extension Office’s efforts. Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what ISU Extension does, so I thought…

Fa, la, la, la, la…

How about this tree to bring out a little Christmas spirit for us gardeners? This tropical beauty made up of bromeliads and ferns is stacked 15′ high and is located at Mulhalls in Omaha, NE. It’s a colorful site and one tree that needs no ornaments. “Bromeliads are native to Central and South America and…

Poinsettia Care Guide

The most popular houseplant this time of year is the Euphorbia pulcherrima or poinsettia. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and are relatively easy to care for. They are one of the most popular potted flowers in the United States. Plant Care Poinsettias prefer a sunny location away from cold drafts or…

Flower Arranging Workshop

This week I hosted a flower arranging workshop for my coworkers where I work full time as a Director of Marketing. I pitched the idea of the workshop to our wellness committee as a “mental’ wellness event because I think everyone can use a little extra time for themselves and to learn something new. I…

The Swallow’s Nest

The June West Pott. Master Gardener meeting tonight was held at The Swallow’s Nest – Jayna’s Country Store & Gardens in Council Bluffs. We enjoyed listening to stories from the owners, held our meeting under the shade trees on the farm and then enjoyed a tour of their expansive vegetable and flower garden. It was…

Garden Journal 4/14/2018

This spring here in southwest Iowa has been one for the record books. Yesterday alone had a mix of rain, tornadoes, snow and flooding forecasted across Iowa. The day before the high was 71 and this weekend it’s supposed to snow. Most of my free time is on the weekends and we haven’t had many great…